Friday, October 28, 2016

Three Good Tools for Collaboratively Creating Multimedia Books

Collaborating to create multimedia books can be a good way to get students excited about writing stories. Students can collaborate with each other and or with you. Through the process of sharing ideas and revisions students' work improves. Writing a multimedia ebook can also be a nice way for students to illustrate and or further explain portions of fiction and non-fiction stories that they compose. The following three platforms make it possible for students to create and publish multimedia ebooks in their web browsers.

For elementary school students:
WriteReader is a neat multimedia writing platform for elementary school teachers and students. The appeal of WriteReader is found in the collaboration between students and teachers. Students can create multimedia books that teachers log into to correct. As is seen the video below, each page of a book has a space for students to write in and a space for teachers to write in. Teachers use the space on the page to correct spelling errors and or make editing suggestions. WriteReader books can include text, pictures, and voice recordings. Completed WriteReader books can be shared online and can be downloaded as PDFs to print.

Tools for middle school/ high school students:
Widbook is a platform designed to help people collaboratively create multimedia books. The service is part multimedia book authoring tool and part social network. Mashable called it "the YouTube of books." On Widbook you can create a digital book that contains text, images, and videos. Widbook is collaborative because you can invite others to make contributions to your books. To use Widbook you have to create a profile on the service. The books that you create become a part of your profile. If you allow it, other Widbook users can add content and or comments to your books. Likewise, you can search for others' books and  make contributions to their books. Due to the public gallery of books I would only use Widbook with students of high school age or older.

I've often described Lucidpress as a mix of the best of Apple's Pages with the best of Google Docs. Through Lucidpress you and your students can collaboratively create documents that incorporate videos and images. Through Lucidpress you and your students can collaboratively create documents that incorporate videos and images. The process of creating a document on Lucidpress can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. To get started you might stick with the basics of moving text and pictures around on the document by just dragging and dropping. There are options for layering images with differing amounts of transparency, image cropping tools, and font customization options in each Lucidpress template. As mentioned above, you can also add videos into your projects (obviously they only play when viewed online).

Nearly 19,000 People Get Their Ed Tech Tips This Way

The reason that I read more often than any other for people unsubscribing from Free Technology for Teachers is "too many updates." That's why over the last two years I've offered two other ways to find my ed tech tips and news in a less frequently updated fashion. Those options are the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter and my YouTube channel.

The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter is sent out once a week on Sunday evening (Monday morning in some parts of the world). The newsletter includes my favorite tip of the week and a list of the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers. Nearly 12,000 people are subscribed to the newsletter, you can subscribe to the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter here.

On my YouTube channel I post a couple of new tutorial videos every week. My YouTube channel has more than 400 video tutorials on everything from G Suite for Education apps to video creation tools to fun and free formative assessment tools. Nearly 7,000 people are subscribed to my YouTube channel and you can subscribe here.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

How to Add Sticky Notes To Webpages

Note Anywhere is a Chrome extension that lets you add a sticky note to just about any webpage that you have open in your browser. With the extension installed you can simply click its icon in your browser and start writing notes on the page. As I demonstrate in the video embedded below, Note Anywhere could be a good tool to use to remind yourself of things that you want to say to students when you share a webpage with them.

H/T to Lifehacker.

OpenEd Helps You Find Resources to Share In Your LMS

OpenEd (formerly known as offers a huge index of educational games, videos, practice assessments, tutorials, and more. One of the strengths of OpenEd is that you can search for resources according to Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Another of OpenEd's strengths is its integration with multiple learning management systems including Google Classroom, Otus, and Schoology.

Within the Otus learning management system you can use OpenEd to search for materials to share with students through your online bookshelf of resources.

From the OpenEd catalog you can share resources to your Google Classroom classrooms. Watch the short video embedded below to learn how to do that.

One More Halloween-themed Lesson - 4 Fun Facts About Ravens

A couple of weeks ago I shared four Halloween-themed video lessons from SciShow Kids. This morning I discovered another SciShow Kids video that falls into the same category. In 4 Things You Didn't Know About Ravens students can learn that crows and ravens are not the same bird and how to tell the difference. The video also teaches students about the different eating habits of ravens. Finally, students can learn about the signs of a raven's intelligence and how they mimic sounds. Students can get the details on all of these facts by watching the video as embedded below.

The beginning of the video covers all of the ways that you can tell the difference between a raven and a crow. A good follow-up lesson would be to display pictures of both to your students and ask them to identify each bird.